Box office preview: Tom Cruise's American Made to underwhelm
'Flatliners' also debuts, while likely Oscar contender 'Battle of the Sexes' expands
The fall movie season is upon us, with potential Oscar nominees and tentpoles alike flooding movie screens across America. So, can last week’s champion, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, reign again, or will former box office royalty (Tom Cruise fronts American Made) crash its party?
Check out EW’s Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 weekend box office predictions below.
1 – Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $19 million
Last week’s No. 1 opener is poised to reclaim its throne for another first-place finish, with its closest genre competition, American Made, likely attracting a mere fraction of their shared target audience away from the action-comedy sequel. Look for Kingsman: The Golden Circle to dip around 40 to 50 percent this weekend.
2 – It – $16.5 million
With Flatliners providing very little in terms of genre competition and Halloween right around the corner, don’t be surprised if It stays afloat in the weeks ahead, benefiting from a light market, strong word-of-mouth, and seasonal relevance.
3 – The LEGO Ninjago Movie – $14 million
As the most prominent family film in wide release, The LEGO Ninjago Movie should be able to overcome its disappointing $20.4 million opening, as animated pictures tend to post smaller week-to-week drop-offs than their live-action counterparts. Expect the film to shed under 50 percent over its sophomore frame.
4 – American Made – $15.5 million
Once a steadfast, moneymaking staple in Hollywood, Cruise’s box office muscle has waned in recent years. His last standalone film to cross the $100 million mark was Edge of Tomorrow, a previous collaboration with American Made helmer Doug Liman. Since then, the big-budget sequel Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation topped $195 million domestically, though 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and this year’s The Mummy sputtered out at $58.7 million and $80.1 million, respectively.
With strong reviews in tow, the $50 million American Made could stand strong atop sturdy legs as we head into the fall season, though its $960,000 Thursday preview numbers don’t bode well for a debut north of $16 million, as the similarly-themed American Assassin hit $14.8 million after posting $920,000 on its first night in theaters a few weeks ago.
Still, Cruise’s power as a movie star can still be felt overseas, as American Made grossed just under $60 million prior to its stateside launch.
5 – Flatliners – $7 million
Ellen Page and Nina Dobrev front a contemporary remake of the 1990 Kevin Bacon/Julia Roberts thriller about a group of medical students who trigger near-death experiences as a means to connect with the afterlife. The film has foregone screening for Thursday night previews, which isn’t a good sign for the horror flick’s prospects. Though critical support is waning by the minute (it holds a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 3.6/10), a reported $19 million budget means the bar for success is low. If Flatliners attracts a decent genre crowd this weekend, it should be in so-so shape if it opens to anything between $6 million and $8 million.
Outside the top five, Emma Stone’s Billie Jean King biopic Battle of the Sexes stands to capitalize on strong Oscar buzz — and positive reviews out of the fall film festivals — as it expands into wide release this weekend. If the film’s critical reaction is any indication, the project, also starring Steve Carell as tennis pro Bobby Riggs, could give Flatliners a run for its money for a spot in the upper half of this weekend’s chart, as the film is, at its core, a roaring crowd-pleaser about one of the most publicized sporting events in history.
Elsewhere, Liam Neeson’s Deep Throat drama Mark Felt opens in limited release, while the romantic thriller Til Death Do Us Part will gun for its target demographic’s dollars as it slides into roughly 500 theaters, where it could post a decent per-theater average over its debut weekend.